When a roofer in Falls Church took a stack of pornography from a pile on the sidewalk near the house he was working on in 1997, he thought he was getting a cheap thrill and some decoration for his walls at home.
Years later, he realized that one of the images on his wall might be Norma Jeane Baker–better known as Marilyn Monroe–but he found that none of the area’s appraisers believed him.
Sloans & Kenyon, the Chevy Chase auction house known for giving everyone an ear, did listen. After research confirmed the roofer’s hunch, the firm put the rare work up for sale.
On November 12, the work sold for $6,655 to an Internet buyer. The 3-D photo–attributed to W.O. Schwartz and dating from 1945–of a smiling young woman laid bare except for the bow in her hair is thought to be the first nude photo of Baker–predating Tom Kelley’s famous picture by four years and adding to her reputation as the sexual provocateur of the era.